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The Shabbos Project, opportunity awaits us

  • Rabbi Shmuel Bloch
In his latest “Delving Deeper” piece, Rabbi Bloch discusses the power and impact of The Shabbos Project
by RABBI SHMUEL BLOCH | Oct 24, 2014

Delving Deeper – The Shabbos Project

In a few hours, a tremendous opportunity will be available to all who wish to take it. This is the opportunity of being part of the Shabbos Project. Feverish and intensive logistical preparations have been taking place to ensure that any Jew wherever they happen to be on planet Earth, will have the ability of experiencing an authentic Shabbos in all of its splendour and beauty.

Amazingly enough, so many people, especially those whose connection to Judaism is tenuous at best, have proudly pledged to keep this Shabbos in its entirety. A momentum and energy has been created and the power of Shabbos is reigniting the Pintele Yid (Jewish spark) everywhere and anywhere.

Hannah Arendt - FULLIt is well known that Shabbos observance is the hallmark of Jewish identity. The famous aphorism, “More than the Jew has kept Shabbos, Shabbos has kept the Jew” is factually correct and its truth has been borne out through Jewish history. 

The importance of Shabbos in Jewish life cannot be underestimated. In previous generations when Jews were new immigrants in a new land, their greatest test was Shabbos observance. They knew that if they did not arrive for work on Shabbos, they needed a new job on Sunday. Times have changed and we in this generation face a different test.

Our test in our generation is to appreciate and understand what Shabbos really is.

Imagine owning a vintage car that is precious and irreplaceable. It is yours, handed down to you from your forbearers, sitting in your garage, gathering dust. It has never been driven. This situation has existed for years. Every so often, you venture into the garage and stare at the car. Afterwards you leave and walk out, still looking wistfully at the car. Imagine further that a friend of yours comes to pay you a visit. While strolling around your house, you take him to your garage. He looks at the car and shouts in excitement “do you know what a valuable treasure you have!! This car is priceless!!! Why don’t you use it and drive it”

Hashem gave us a special gift called Shabbos

 

You answer sadly, “Although the car is mine, nobody ever educated me as to its true value or taught me how to drive. So it just sits here unused and idle. Your friend says “I will fix this situation. I will teach you all about cars. I will give you driving lessons. I want you to understand and comprehend that right here you have one of the greatest cars in the world. It is your treasure to enjoy and benefit from.”

Your friend keeps his word. Slowly you come to appreciate how fantastic your car is. He teaches you how to drive and the exhilaration and ecstasy you feel while on the road is beyond words. You cannot thank your friend enough and question how you could have lived so many years without taking advantage of this car which has been in the family for so many generations. It’s yours and you are so grateful and appreciative to the one who gave it to you.

The Talmud in Tractate Shabbos tells us that Hashem gave a special gift to the Jewish People called Shabbos. Every generation of Jews has passed this gift down to the next one. However due to various circumstances such as ignorance, a lack of education and a general unfamiliarity as to what to actually do to keep Shabbos, Shabbos observance has declined. Shabbos has been terribly misconstrued as restrictive, difficult and the exclusive domain of the super religious.

This situation is tragic because Shabbos understood correctly can transform a person’s life in the most dramatic and meaningful way. Shabbos is amazing, wonderful and exhilarating. There are not enough words to describe how magical Shabbos can be.

Yet for many of us, we are like the owner of the car in the parable. We know we are the owners of something unique and we would like to enter into the world of Shabbos but we just do not know where the door is….

However, we have a special friend who wants to help us. Our friend is called the Shabbos Project. The Shabbos Project provides that entry point that we so desperately seek. Events, lectures, dinners, kids’ activities, concerts …..It is all there and easily available. The Shabbos Project will give us the tools to understand what Shabbos really is all about. It is the opportunity that we have all been waiting for.

The owner of the car in the parable could not understand how he could have lived so long without the benefits of his amazing car. Try keep this Shabbos and you too will realize that the greatest gift in the world is yours with its infinite benefits that come each and every week.

The Shabbos Project is here. Let us keep it together and let us change the world forever.

More from Rabbi Bloch on SAJR:

2 Comments

  1. 2 Choni 25 Oct
    Dear Editor,
       I have sent you an email headed "Next Year in Jerusalem" Could you kindly publish it , as a reply to Rabbi Bloch's column.
    Thanks
    Choni.

    Hi Choni - you can post it as a comment on Rabbi Bloch's column with pleasure - as long as it meets our normal rules - Regards, [email protected] 



  2. 1 david 06 Nov
    Illuminating piece , however I would like to declare myself  " ignorant and lacking education 'via the Rabbi's quote below ---
    '
    However due to various circumstances
    such as ignorance, a lack of education and a general unfamiliarity as to what to actually do to keep Shabbos, Shabbos observance has declined. Shabbos has been terribly misconstrued as restrictive, difficult and the exclusive domain of the super religious.
      I have spent my life generally working on 'Shabbos' in the retail industry, simply because it was part of my commitment to do for my family, all I could to make their life, and mine better .
       Some are privileged to 'work' in Shull on a Saturday, ok with me ,you don't here me criticizing them, but I  object to being called 'ignorant and lacking in education, for working. Even more so by a Rabbi, who is supposed to be a part of our spiritual leadership, as well as a man of compassion and understanding.
       Rabbi Bloch obviously preaches on to the converted.  
        I presume it makes his life easier.

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